Skip to body

Central Washington University

CWU’s Global Literacy Development Program Useful to Many Careers

February 28, 2013

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Central Washington University's Department of Language, Literacy, and Special Education now offers the Global Literacy Development Certificate, an online certificate program designed to help its graduates navigate literacy issues locally and on an international scale. It provides a distinct foundation toward the pursuit of a variety of careers--not only in education, but also in business and the sciences.

According to Judy Backlund, program co-director (with Janet Finke), the skills learned in the Global Literacy curriculum will allow individuals to foster literacy in a variety of contexts around the world.

“Global literacy also embraces a cultural literacy, which allows people to be “fluent” in backgrounds and beliefs, in addition to the written word.

“Students can apply the concepts in this program to virtually any community, whether Katmandu, Timbuktu, a reservation in Oklahoma, or an inner city neighborhood in Detroit,” said Backlund, who has taught in many countries, including South Sudan and China. “No matter where they are, individuals want to better themselves, and literacy is the cornerstone of that improvement.”

Backlund points out that the special studies section of the certificate is focused on adult literacy—“there is a real pull towards teaching adults to read and write.” She notes that literacy can have profound impacts in small ways, such as being able to read dosing instructions on a medicine bottle.

The 18-credit program is designed to prepare individuals to work in communities locally and around the world to promote literacy growth. Certificate holders will have the basic, foundational knowledge about literacy development as well as organizational communication skills to support, sustain, and enhance literacy.

Although the certificate program can stand alone, the credits earned can be applied toward a minor in literacy. Individuals may apply for the program beginning in March.

For more information about the Global Literacy Development Certificate, go to or contact Judy Backlund, 509-963-1715,

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.